NGO calls for annulling parliament legitimacy after seizing half of constituent Assembly

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By Heba Hesham

CAIRO: The Lawyers’ Union for Legal Studies and Democracy called upon political parties, civil society organizations, syndicates and individuals to withdraw legitimacy from both houses of the parliament and the Constituent Assembly that will draft the constitution, claiming they are unconstitutional.

The People’s Assembly and the Shoura Council decided that 50 percent of the 100-member assembly will be comprised of members of the Islamists-dominated parliament to the dismay of political powers, which threatened to take legal action to revoke the formation of the assembly based on these criteria.

“The proposal of 50 MPs in the assembly showed the Muslim Brotherhood’s totalitarian and dictatorial ideology,” said Shady Talaat, head of the Lawyers’ Union, demanding the military council to intervene to stop what he called “farce violation of the constitution”.

Talaat said that the union would file a number of lawsuits to disband the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the Salafi Al-Nour Party, which have the lion’s share of the parliament, arguing that their existence violates Article 4 of the constitution and law number 12 which regulate religious reference of political parties and their relation with foreign institutions.

“We would announce the legal procedures we would take (Tuesday), but at the moment we welcome all political powers to unite against the totalitarian Brotherhood,” he said.

The union called national forces and individuals to announce their immediate rejection of the criteria set to select the Constituent Assembly members, arguing that it only served the interests of the MB. They also called upon people not to go to the polls during the referendum on the constitution.

Although Ahmed Abdel Rahman, FJP MP, said earlier in a televised interview with Al-Hayah TV that the vote on the 50/50 proposal witnessed the approval of 80 percent of MPs, which is a bigger percentage than the members of the FJP and Al-Nour together, Talaat argued that the FJP has the power to select who would join the parliament to serve their interests.

“Also the vote was conducted among members of both houses not only the PA. The Shoura Council is [dominated] by FJP as well,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Free Egyptian Party (FEP) stressed, in a draft law submitted to the PA regarding the mechanism of selection of the assembly’s members, on the need to temporarily freeze the partisan membership of those who would join the Assembly as a guarantee of their impartiality while drafting the constitution.

“Members of parties who’d participate in the assembly should refrain from discussing or voting on the articles of the constitution regulating the powers of the PA and Shoura Council, or on the system of their election,” FEP said in a statement, adding that the remnants of the dissolved National Democratic Party should be excluded from the Assembly.

Talaat, however, criticized the party’s suggestion saying that it would not change the form of the Assembly.

“The stance of political powers would be more respectable if they worked on withdrawing legitimacy from the parliament and its constituent assembly and refrain from participating in it,” he said.

“Withdrawing legitimacy is a legitimate right to the people, but it is unknown to many. We should work on raising their awareness regarding the legitimate procedures they can take”.

On the same token, MP Mohamed Abu Hamed, who recently resigned from the FEP, called for a march on Saturday March 24 to the Supreme Constitutional Court with the participation of a group of senior judges and civil society organizations to file a lawsuit to invalidate the rules of selection of the assembly.

“No for the hegemony of the majority on the constitution,” he said on his twitter account.

Abu Hamed has abstained from voting in rejection to the domination of the parliamentary majority on the regulations of selection of the assembly and the inclusion of any MP within its members.



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